korail train

All About Korean Trains (KORAIL) & KTX & KORAIL Pass

If you want to venture beyond Seoul and explore other destinations in South Korea, taking the train is your best bet. KORAIL, South Korea’s national railway company, offers an extensive rail network for efficient and comfortable exploration. Coupled with the convenience of the KORAIL Pass, you can enjoy seamless access to the country’s diverse landscapes. Here’s everything you need to know about KORAIL trains and the KORAIL Pass to make the most of your Korean adventure.


Korea Rail KTX

KORAIL, also known as Korea Railroad Corporation, is South Korea’s national railway company, overseeing nearly 4,000 km of train lines and linking over 630 stations nationwide. The railway network offers diverse services, from high-speed trains like KTX and SRT to conventional options such as ITX-Cheongchun, ITX-Saemaeul, Mugunghwa, and various tourist trains. 

Korean trains boast pleasant and comfortable cabins and multilingual guides to ensure safe and convenient travel. Additionally, themed tourist trains offer travelers a unique and comfortable way to experience Korea. 

All trains feature spacious seats with ample legroom, foldable aircraft-style tables, accessible restrooms, luggage and wheelchair storage, power outlets at each seat, and high-speed internet. Furthermore, passengers can easily locate a café car with snack options and entertainment facilities aboard any train.

View Korean Railroad Route maps here.

Korean Train Types

Korea Rail KTX Sancheon

The KTX is a high-speed train in Korea that goes up to 300 km/h and only takes about three hours to get from Seoul to Busan. Even though tickets are a bit pricey, it’s a quick, safe, and comfy ride. You can catch it at Seoul Station, Yongsan Station, and Cheongnyangni Station, and it goes to places like Busan, Pohang, Mokpo, Yeosu, Gangneung (Donghae), and Andong.

The ITX is a semi-fast train traveling at 180 km/h speed. Currently, there are two varieties: ITX-Cheongchun and ITX-Saemaeul. ITX-Cheongchun travels from Yongsan Station in Seoul to Chuncheon City in Gangwon Province in eastern Korea. You can also board ITX-Cheongchun trains at Cheongnyangni Station in Seoul, accessible via Subway Line 1 & Gyeongui Line, for trips to Gangwon Province. ITX-Saemaeul is a new type of service that is gradually replacing regular Saemaul-ho trains on electrified lines.

how to get to LEOGOLAND Korea Resort by ITX Train.

It operates along the Gyeongbu, Honam, Gyeongjeon, Jeolla, and Jungang Lines. Chuncheon is a popular destination for day trips from Seoul. You can visit top tourist spots like Nami Island, Petite France, and Lego Land Korea.

The Little Prince in Petite France

The Saemaeul train, a traditional service, operates from Seoul Station (on the Gyeongbu Line), Yongsan Station (on the Honam Line), and Cheongnyangni Station (for Andong-bound journeys). Unlike the KTX and ITX, the Saemaeul makes more stops along its route. However, despite the additional stops, it offers a relatively quick journey from Seoul to Busan in under 5 hours.

The Mugunghwa-ho is a basic train service departing from Seoul Station (on the Gyeongbu Line), Yongsan Station (on the Honam Line), and Cheongnyangni Station (for Andong- or Donghae-bound trips). It’s the most affordable option and the only one stopping at numerous stations not served by KTX or Saemaeul trains. However, it’s considerably slower, often resulting in more passengers standing than sitting.

The Jeongseon Arirang Train (A-Train)
By visitkorea.or.kr

The East Sea and Santa Train (O-Train) travel along the East Sea coast from Gangneung Station in Gangwon-do to Buncheon Station in Gyeongsangbuk-do. At Buncheon Station, passengers can visit the festive Bonghwa Santa Village with Christmas decorations and activities like the Santa Post Office and sledding hill. 

gangneung donghae 2D1N travel
Gangneung & Donghae, Gangwondo Travel

The Jeongseon Arirang Train (A-Train) travels between Cheongnyangni Station in Seoul and Auraji Station in Gangwon-do. You can enjoy the atmosphere and taste of Auraji, known as the birthplace of Jeongseon Arirang, and explore the countryside village of Jeongseon. 

things to do in gangwondo
Best things to do in Gangwondo

The West Gold Train (G-Train) runs from Yongsan Station in Seoul to Iksan Station in Jeollabuk-do. Painted in gold to represent the sunset-struck West Sea, it features ondol (traditional floor heating system) cabins decorated in a hanok-style (Korean tradition house) theme. 

The Baekdudaegan Mountain Range Canyon Train (V-Train) runs from Cheoram Station in Gangwon-do to Yeongju Station in Gyeongsangbuk-do. It offers stunning canyon views of the Baekdudaegan Mountain Range, with a leisurely ride allowing passengers to enjoy the scenery. 

The South Coast Train (S-Train) has two routes: one from Seoul Station to Yeosu Station in Jeollanam-do (Jeolla Line) and the other from Busan Station to Gwangju Songjeong Station (Gyeongjeon Line). It offers four themed cars with different seating arrangements suited for each theme. If you want to see South Korea’s southwest region, taking the S-Train is a great idea.

things to do in Yeosu, Korea
Ultimate Yeosu travel guide

The DMZ Peace Train runs from Yongsan Station in Seoul to Dorasan Station in Gyeonggi-do. Dorasan Station is the nearest train station to the DMZ, the border between South and North Korea. You can explore the pristine natural surroundings of the DMZ and visit Imjingak Pyeonghwa Nuri Park. Check out our ultimate guide to DMZ.

How to use trains in Korea


Plan Your Route: Determine your starting point and destination. You can use online maps or transportation apps like KakaoMap or Naver Maps to find the best route. Check out the Best Apps for Travel in Korea.

Check Train Schedules: Look up train schedules for the type of train you want to take. In Korea, there are different types of trains, such as KTX (high-speed trains), SRT (super rapid trains), and regional trains.

Purchase Tickets: You can buy train tickets online through websites or apps such as KORAIL’s official website, mobile apps like Korail Talk, or by visiting the ticket counters at train stations.

Board the Train: Arrive at the train station at least 20-30 minutes before departure. Look for your platform number, which is usually displayed on electronic boards. Board the train with your ticket.

What is the Korea Train Pass (KORAIL Pass)?

The KORAIL Pass is a train pass exclusively for foreigners, providing unlimited travel on KORAIL’s rail network for convenient and flexible exploration. With this pass, you can travel around Korea at a better price than buying point-to-point tickets. 

Korail pass price
By official website

There are three types of passes: 

  • Consecutive Pass: This pass lets you travel for 3 or 5 consecutive days, making it a great option for saving on individual ticket prices if you plan to take multiple rides in a row.
  • Flexible Pass: This pass allows you to choose either 2 or 4 days within ten days, offering more flexibility for your travel plans.
  • Saver Pass: If traveling in a group of 2-5 people, you can choose the Saver Pass, where each adult can save about KRW 10,000, offering great value for groups.

Where do you buy, and how do you use the KORAIL Pass?

You can easily purchase a KORAIL Pass in South Korea at KORAIL stations, tourist information centers, travel agencies, or the official KORAIL website. When buying tickets online, you also have the option to select your desired seats in advance.

We picked up the best one and made a table for you to compare the KORAIL Pass here.

How to use the KORAIL Pass

  • Activate your pass either through the KORAIL website or at a KORAIL station. If you activate online, you can print your pass for boarding or collect a printed pass at the station if you are activating in person.
  • Reserve your seat if you wish. You can reserve a seat for free at any KORAIL station or through the KORAIL website. For online booking, click here for detailed instructions.
  • When boarding the train, present your KORAIL Pass. When the conductor checks tickets, just show them your pass, and you’re all set!

Things to keep in mind when using KORAIL Pass

  • Train bookings can be booked up to 30 days in advance. 
  • Only foreigners can use the KORAIL Pass (those with a Korean passport cannot).
  • Check out the different types of trains available. KORAIL Passes are not valid on AREX, SRT, or subways. 
  • Only the person making the reservation may use it. If the name on the pass differs from that on the passport, it cannot be used. 
  • You may also buy tickets on-site, but we recommend booking online because they are frequently sold out and require waiting in line. 
  • For more information, please contact the English KORAIL CS staff (+82-1599-7777, 8am-8pm KST) or visit the Travel Center at any train station.

In conclusion, exploring South Korea by rail with KORAIL trains and the KORAIL Pass offers an unparalleled travel experience. Whether racing between cities on the KTX or leisurely soaking in the scenery aboard a Mugunghwa train, KORAIL promises comfort, convenience, and unforgettable adventures. So, grab your KORAIL Pass, hop on board, and let the journey begin!

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